Irvmiren remains at Lewes dock

68-foot sailboat could be gone soon
July 11, 2014

A 68-foot, blue Nautor Swan sailboat remains docked at the Lewes public wharf, more than a month after the vessel nearly sank 25 miles off Cape May, N.J.

The boat was towed to Lewes for repairs, which were expected to be completed in about a week. The work has taken longer than expected, but the Irvmiren should be on its way soon, said Lewes Capt. Scott Gaston.

"The boat is up and floating," he said. "It could be [out] in as little as a few days."

The vessel is expected to be taken to a yard in the Chesapeake or New England, but that decision will be made by the owner and insurance company, he said.

At the boat owner's request, Gaston declined to discuss repairs or what caused the vessel to take on water May 25.

Lewes City Manager Paul Eckrich said the city has not had any problems with the boat taking up a large section of the public dock. However, there are a few reservations scheduled in the coming weeks, he said.

About 10:45 p.m., May 25, the Irvmiren crew issued a distress signal, saying the boat was taking on water in the galley and engine room.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J., and a 45-foot rescue ship from Coast Guard Station Cape May responded to the distress call.

For hours, the crew attempted to pump water off the boat, but their efforts failed. A Coast Guard spokeswoman said she did not know why the sailboat was taking on water.

A dewatering pump was lowered from the helicopter to the deck of the rescue ship and transferred onto the sailboat, but efforts to dewater the vessel were unsuccessful. Six people aboard Irvmiren – including a young boy – were transferred onto the Coast Guard rescue ship at 2:30 a.m. May 29 and taken to the Coast Guard station in Cape May, said Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer Cindy Oldham.

Irvmiren's home port is Singapore, and most of its charters take place in the waters of Southeast Asia. The sailboat – built in 1993 and refitted in 2011 – offers four cabins for up to eight charter guests with two crew members. According to, charters are $23,000 weekly.

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